Harzand remains on course for Derby double
Published 24/06/2016 | 18:56
Epsom hero Harzand remains an intended runner in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after satisfying trainer Dermot Weld in a workout on Friday morning.
The Sea The Stars colt survived a late scare after spreading a plate to claim Investec Derby glory and is set to follow the likes of Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014) by becoming a dual Derby winner.
"All being well the horse will run," said Weld. "He's been out this morning and we're satisfied with him."
The master of Rosewell House has expressed concerns about the race coming too soon for his stable star, due to the huge performance he put in at Epsom three weeks ago.
"It's been well documented that I'd have preferred another week, but the intention is to run," said Weld.
" What he is is very tough and courageous, which is why we are even talking about running him. I'm satisfied he is perfectly sound.
" But, he's a horse who'll meet you halfway, he'll go more than halfway to meet you in fact and that's the big plus.
" The Derby is the Derby and these three-year-olds tend to improve at this time of year which is why it is exciting.
" People say the three-year-olds are sub-standard in the spring, but they haven't been judged by then, they are improving horses."
Harzand provided Weld and Pat Smullen with their first Derby success and the multiple champion jockey believes the young colt is open to further improvement.
Smullen said: " He was a big immature two-year-old that took a bit of time and he started off in his maiden at Gowran in September. He ran very green, and typical of the boss he was very patient and put him away.
"His work was very good in the spring and any horse that wins a maiden in Ireland by 13 lengths has to be very good.
"He progressed from there to Leopardstown and again he improved a lot from there to Epsom, that's typical of His Highness' (Aga Khan) horses, they all keep on improving and we hope he still is."
Weld also saddles Ebediyin, who was fifth in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot last week and looks likely to adopt a pacesetting role.